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Airbnb waives fees for Hurricane Sandy affected area (airbnb.com)
63 points by alexshye 1789 days ago | hide | past | web | 20 comments | favorite

Because they're still insuring the rentals, they're presumably taking a loss to do this, not to mention leaving a lot of money on the table due to increased demand. Very cool of them.

You're right about it being very cool of them, but I also suspect that the brand recognition and coverage they'll get from doing this will more than make up for any loss.

Not that I'm saying that is why they are doing it, it's the right thing to do, it's a great thing to do.

I totally agree. I just like when good business is aligned with doing "the right thing", and companies think long-term enough to see that.

I work for Airbnb and was involved in the discussions leading up to our decision to waive fees and generally reach out to our community to help those affected and displaced by Sandy.

This was 100% due to our concern for the community and the stories coming out of the East Coast about all those impacted. We all came together--multiple departments across the company--and rallied quickly to make this happen.

It was very, very cool to witness.

Based on figures from your website, the service fee for hosts is 3%, while the fee for guests is between 6 to 12%. Do you have a projection of how much money your customers will save?

Also why waive fees rather than make a donation to the Red Cross or other relief organisations?

Crunchbase puts Airbnb funding at $220 million (with $100 million raised this September) so there seems to be a fair bit of cash floating around.

We are waiving our service fees, but we're also asking our hosts in affected areas to lower pricing on their listings.

The goal is for both Airbnb and the Airbnb community to come together to help those impacted. It's not just waiving the fees that will help, but also hosts opening up their homes to those displaced.

"Also why waive fees rather than make a donation to the Red Cross or other relief organisations?"

I'm not sure what is the point of asking this is. Lessening the cost of accommodations for people in these areas can sometimes have just as much of a direct influence as donating to a relief organization. Airbnb could've easily taken this opportunity to raise the fee due to say, rising demands (ahem... Uber) or done nothing at all (because they have no obligation) but instead opted to make it slightly easier financially.

There does not seem to be any snark or condescension in the question. Which makes me wonder why the comment is getting downvoted. Which is too sacred to critique, the disaster relief or Airbnb? Neither should be above it.

Regarding the Uber comparison:

Is there anything to stop Airbnb hosts from raising prices?

  > the brand recognition and coverage they'll get
  > from doing this will more than make up for any loss
This is not easily quantifiable, and therefore people that spend too much attention to 'bean counting' will just see this as a loss (and possibly not even do it in the first place).

The fee waiver does not include Port-au-Prince and other affected areas in the Carribean.


For their... two listings I see in Port. Granted, the do have quite a few more in Jamaica, Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico. But the latter two weren't hit nearly as badly.

What a contrast from Uber.

Yeah, decided to try Uber to get to the airport today, even with the $40 discount for first-time users, I ended up paying $75 for a 20-minute ride. Last time I'm using them.

I had a look at Uber, and the only thing i can think of is they are basing their entire model on the assumption that every customer is expensing each journey.

yeah but the risks are different. An uber driver is potentially exposing himself and vehicle to the hostile elements. An ubder driver might have otherwise decided not to make himself available at all without the extra cash incentive.

Context for the uninitiated, please.

Uber is "everyone's private driver". They've increased their prices. Some people accuse them of gouging. Other people say that prices must increase after catastrophe, to reward people taking the risk of providing the service / goods.

UBER (https://www.uber.com/cities/san-francisco)

Uber increases prices (http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=4725789)

So smart. I received so many emails from NY-based tech companies over the last few days. While I feel bad for them, I'm also in NY and in the same situation. But they insist on my attention. I love what Airbnb did here. Give give give give ... then ask. It actually feels authentic probably because it's a truly authentic gesture from them. Great way to do business.

I wonder if Uber had waived their fees at the start, would they have ridden this out in style like AirBnb?

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